i68 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION long the result was evident in the general loss of freedom and spontaneity in the writing of Latin. Another phase of the same degenerate tendency was the ex- travagant estimate of Cicero's style as the only correct model for composition. Following Quintilian, Vittorino and Guarino and grammarians like Perotti regarded Cicero's letters and rhetorical writings as examples of perfect Latinity. " A Cicerone nunquam discedendum," was Vittorino's maxim for young scholars. But none of the members of this school went the length of making Cicero the exclusive model and ignoring the study of content in favour of mere form. It was not till the end of the Fifteenth Century that there arose a stricter sect of Ciceronians who condemned entirely the use of any words or idioms not to be found in Cicero, and made style the only con- sideration in scholarship. From this time forward, a fierce controversy, continually renewed by fresh combatants, raged between the two parties. On the one side were those like Politian who refused to be mere " apes of Cicero." " Some one will say: 'You do not express Cicero.' I answer: cI am not Cicero. What I really express is myself/ "* On the other side were those like Bembo who carried their adherence to Cicero so far as to use pagan expressions in speaking of Christian themes. In his writings, the municipal councillors are " patres conscripti," the Virgin Mary " dea ipsa," the nuns " virgines vestales," and so on. With the publication of the Ciceronianus of Erasmus in 1528, condemning such irrational devotion to Cicero and approving the practice of the earlier Ciceronians, the controversy passed beyond the confines of Italy and ended finally in the triumph of the saner view. But that there should have been such a con- troversy at all is significant of the change that had come over renaissance scholarship. It revealed the inherent weakness of the whole movement, and foreshadowed the time when the love • of the ancient literatures which marked the escape of men's minds from the constraints of medievalism would pass away and leave the schools that had been created under its influence to the joyless study of literary rules and forms. * Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship, ii, 85.